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'Survivor' recap: Playing poker on the shores of Nicaragua

October 21, 2010 | 10:04 am

99280_D19758 Is that the new face of evil pictured to the left here? Brenda and Marty have been in dueling lanes when it comes to really trying to control this season of “Survivor,” and both played a lot of cards in this week’s episode, one week after they found themselves in the same tribe.

Let’s start at the beginning, where Espada’s Dan interjected his contemplating quitting “Survivor” in the middle of small talk about the weather with Holly. Now Holly, who was just considering the same thing not long ago, tells him he can’t give up … and then goes to tell Yve that Dan’s done.

But even with all the players who’ve confessed to wanting to leave this season, they’re all still here -– even after a double elimination night. I tell you, this is not the season to bet money on who’s getting voted out next.

Before this week’s challenge, Brenda said her plan was to have the vote end up a tie between Marty and Jill. Either Marty would foolishly not use his immunity idol and get voted out, or he’d use it up and have his now-common law wife Jill get the boot. He and Jill aren’t fooling or impressing any of the La Flor kids and they want him gone.

Oh wait, Marty tells Fabio a “secret” (read: lie) that he’s a chess grandmaster, and that somehow makes Fabio like him more. Silly reality stars and their taking everything at face value. But at least Marty knows the deal and isn’t being cocky and resting on his laurels. He and the other former Espada tribesmen (Espadans? Espadaites?) may now be living in relative luxury, but they’re still at the mercy of the younger players’ majority.

At the challenge is where we find out the twist. Both tribes will vote someone out, so they’re playing for individual immunity, a feast and a chance to witness the losing team’s tribal council. The challenge, while not boring, was rather like an elementary school’s field day activity. Everyone had to dig up their own rings out of the dirt, toss them over their shoulders, catch them in a bag behind their backs and run them to a station. Holly won for Espada and Jill won for La Flor, and in the final round Jill threw three rings onto hooks before Holly, handing Espada yet another defeat.

All did OK during the challenge though, save for Dan, of course. Which got me thinking: Is this Dan’s game play? Seeming utterly hopeless and just sitting back as the others tear their real competition down? Like another Dan, Dan Gheesling from “Big Brother 10,” who won that show by a unanimous vote. Lots of reality competitors play weak or inconspicuous (Are you there, Kelly Purple?), but the smart ones know just the right moment to flip that and start impressing others.

Dan hasn’t done that yet, but he does know when he’s in danger and defends himself without talking too much and possibly saying the wrong thing. Enter Yve, who also knows she’s on the bubble since Holly and her young’ns are tight. Yve tells NaOnka and Alina that Dan’s given up but she’ll fight on, and how it’ll be so awesome when the tribes merge because she’s tight with the older players now in La Flor. Great job, Yve. Why don’t you just turn your back on them right now and get it over with?

La Flor’s caught in a bind because now Marty and Jill both have immunity. And since everyone actually likes Jane, Brenda thinks it’s time to go ahead and take care of Kelly B., who everyone is afraid to go up against in the end because she's only got one leg. While Dan does have more obvious signals to know he’s on the chopping block, Kelly B. is too trusting of the tribe that has long worried about her and the jury’s sympathy vote.

So La Flor goes first for tribal council, and a bunch of stuff comes out of the woodwork. Here we see Brenda get much more manipulative, twisting Marty’s words on him in front of everyone and practically pulling a Na on him – she don’t like the man. But Marty stays relatively cool throughout it all and decides to not use his immunity idol.

I think we all thought it was over then. The vote was a tie between Marty and Kelly B., La Flor voted again and sent Kelly B. home. Seriously. They had an obvious power player making a stupid move, but they’re the stupid ones. Now Brenda has someone who’s definitely out to get her sticking around for at least one more round. We’ll see how long that smile lasts on her face.

And blah blah, Yve sounds desperate, Dan can’t be bothered and the kids in Espada also make a silly move by keeping a liability on their team. La Flor got to see their tedious back and forth while shoveling kabobs down their throats, and I couldn’t help thinking how much better it would’ve been had Espada witnessed La Flor’s drama – both right then and on into the game.

At 9 a.m., video still wasn't up of La Flor’s voting yet, so that’s it until next week, amigos.

-- Anthony Williams
twitter.com/anthonyw_ent

Photo: La Flor's Brenda at the tribe's camp. Credit: Monty Brinton / CBS

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